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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: bail hearings

Cousins arrested w/ Ecstasy to stay jailed

Two men from Canada arrested with 159 pounds of Ecstasy near the United States border will stay in the Spokane County Jail without bail, a judge ruled today.

Christopher S. Stocken, 31, and Joshua J. Bird, 23, who are cousins and members of the Little Black Bear tribe, don't have a stable release plan to ensure their presence in court, U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno said.

Family members traveled from Regina, Saskatchewan, for the hearing in U.S. District Court in Spokane this morning.

Stocken is unemployed but works seasonal odd jobs, his lawyer said. He has a warrant in Canada related to a drunken driving conviction, and Bird also has a drunken driving conviction. But neither man has any criminal history that indicated they're a risk to the community, lawyers said.

Imbrogno noted the seriousness of the charges when granting the U.S. Attorney's Office's motions to detain Stocken and Bird.

The suspects, who have not yet been indicted, face charges of possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and importation of Ecstasy.

Border patrol agents found the men with five backpacks after they crossed into the country illegally from Canada on Friday. Investigators estimate the Ecstasy tablets to be worth $4.5 million.

Canadian cocaine suspect asks for bail

A Canadian man arrested with 71 pounds of cocaine near the international border last month will ask a judge to grant him bail next week.

Jonathan Darren Smith, 39, filed a motion this week through his attorney, Jeffrey Niesen, asking to be released from jail pending trial. A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.

 Smith is a former professional rugby player who played on the Canadian Rugby Junior National team in 1990 and 1994.

Known as Darren or “Grundy,”.Smith's family said in letters that he is in “very poor health” after many concussions and a stroke five years ago that left him disabled on the left side of his body.

“His devotion to the togetherness of our family and his commitment to creating meaningful connections with our family is incredible,” a cousin wrote.

Wrote Smith's uncle, “If we had more people like Darren then there would be less strife in the world and more understanding.”

Smith worked construction for 16 years before suffering the stroke in March 2006. His criminal history includes a conviction in Canada for failing to declare currency while entering the country, as well as a drunken driving charge that's still pending.

Smith was born and raised in Kelowna, where his father currently resides, but lived at a home owned by his brother in Whistler, B.C. prior to his arrest on Feb. 16.

A border patrol agent spotted him on the east side of Highway 395 “frantically trying to climb the snowy berm at the edge of the roadway,” near the Laurier border crossing, according to federal court documents. Investigators found 30 individually wrapped, sealed packages (pictured) of cocaine in two backpacks.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, which carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Child porn distributor arrested again

A Cheney man who distributed child pornography using his former co-worker's stolen identity is back in jail.

John Alan Harmon, 57, was ordered held without bail this morning on federal allegations that he distributed child pornography last January and in October 2009. The sex offender left prison in 2005 after serving about three years for the same crime.

His lawyer, Bevan Maxey, said Harmon has strong ties to Cheney and will show up for court if he's out of jail, but U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno said he needed a more structured release plan before he could be released.

“There is not issue as far as risk of flight. The issue in this case is risk to the community,” Imbrogno said. “My impression is Mr. Harmon is really trying, but these alleged difficulties are simply too pervasive right now.”

A grand jury indicted Harmon on charges of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. He also could be forced to forfeit a computer seized from his home on Jan. 7, 2010.

Harmon faces at least 15 years in prison because of his previous conviction for distribution of child pornography. He was arrested Monday and pleaded not guilty to both charges in U.S. District Court that afternoon.

Pot suspects to get private but public attorneys

Two accused marijuana smugglers will be represented by publicly paid, private attorneys because of a a conflict of interest with the federal defender’s office.

William Richard Paterson, 50, and Jahrum David Oakes, 32, both of Kelowna B.C, appeared in U.S District Court in Spokane this morning for bail hearings that were rescheduled next Friday at the request of their attorneys.

Frank Cikutovich is representing Oakes; Mark Casey is representing Paterson. Each will be paid $110 an hour, according to federal court documents. No details on the defender’s office conflict of interest was immediately available.

Paterson and Oakes were arrested Sunday night near the border in Ferry County after DEA agents say they were trying to smuggle in eight duffel bags filled with marijuana, weighing about 235 pounds. The men remain in Spokane County Jail.

Paterson, a thin man with a full beard and tattoos covering his left arm, requested his bail hearing be delayed to give him time to resolve “some family situations” back home, Casey said.

Oakes’ bail hearing was continued to the same day after Cikutovich said he needed more time to address flight risks raised by pre-trial services.

Assistant U.S Attorney Matt Duggan said Oakes, a taller man with a shaved face and slicked back hair, has already failed to appear in court once on an unrelated charge, is unemployed, has a “possible history of substance abuse” and has an outstanding misdemeanor warrant in Okanogan County.

Cikutovich said they have a tentative agreement regarding the Okanogan warrant and have been in contact with Oakes girlfriend of 2 1/2 years.

Kelowna, B.C., lawyer Marty Johnson will work with Oakes back home if he’s released, Cikutovich said.

Kelowna, a city of about 115,000, is a 255-mile drive from Spokane.

Next Friday’s bail hearing is set for 10:30 a.m.

Read a previous story on the bust here.

B.C man busted near Spokane with 38 kilos of coke

Spokane International Airport police suspected something was going on with the Canadian man they’d seen several times. In the last four months, he’d rented several SUVs and returned them after racking up unusually high mileage – some 3,000 miles apiece.

Based on that tip, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration began tracking Michael Barry Yuill, a 36-year-old resident of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, a small community about 300 miles north of Spokane.

Now, Yuill is facing federal drug trafficking charges in what authorities are describing as a major Eastern Washington cocaine seizure.

Read the rest of my story here.

On a Facebook page for his small business, Yuill is described as being known in Salmon Arm “the guy that dresses up as Shrek every Halloween,” referring to the popular’s children’s movie. Check it out here.

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